CMSD News Bureau
The wildly popular and brilliantly colorful annual plant and wreath sale at CMSD's Washington Park Environmental Studies Academy has been extended until 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
There are still many poinsettias -- in red, light green and pink -- available, along with wreaths, table centerpieces and door swags.
On Friday, visitors to the greenhouse walked about in a sea of poinsettias and were constantly aided by helpful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic horticulture students.
In all, around 2,000 poinsettias, 200 table centerpieces, 36 wreaths and about 20 door swags filled the greenhouse in Newburgh Heights, an innovative District site nestled up against Cleveland Metroparks' Washington Golf Course.
The plant sale was put together by Donald Laux, a Washington Park teacher who has coordinated the sale with the students for nearly three decades -- and as many as 125 horticulture/plant science students and a handful of staff members, he said.
"It's a cooperative effort with many members of our staff," Laux said. "And the students learn not only horticulture, but customer-relations skills. And they look forward to earning a little bit of tip money, too."
The money the students raise goes toward paying for other student activities during the course of the year.
Laux said the students focused for months on growing and developing the plants, fertilizing and watering them and treating them for various diseases.
"It's a yearlong effort," he said. "The crop starts in July, which means I'm planting with a few students in the hot weather and we're finishing up here in the freezing cold."
The brilliant poinsettias and the holiday plant sale are really just part of the picture, Laux said.
"This is just one of our crops," he said. "We'll also sell lillies for Easter and all of the spring bedding plant crops."
That's why customer Latrice Shields keeps coming back.
"I come because the plants are beautiful," she said. "Everything I put in my yard comes from here -- and it always grows well."